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Hitting the road west pt1

Packing up at home

since this is a quit corner of my internet life, let me let you insiders in on a little insider’s secret —- we’ve had a “sprinter” van since nov. 2018. We lived in it for 2 whole years before covid, after having lived off of our bicycles for 3 years (Arya), 6 years (me) prior. It was a big life upgrade that i was self conscious for multiple reasons about in 2018, but in 2023 … well… could i even hold a conversation with 2018 Ronnie? The answer is of course a capital YES (i love myself), but the topics would de different is all….

long story short, Arya and i are teaming up to allow for some independent travel time this year. With the factory and new business acquisitions and all, it was unclear if we’d be able to get away much like we’d ordinarily done over the span of our 10 year relationship. Since we’d last been professional travelers in 2020 we’d filled our situationally idyl lives with all the baggage that comes with staying in one place (it happens quick!). We’ve had plenty of long conversations and musings about how to get back to that life, and not that our current lives weren’t filled with purpose and joys… just looking to balance the two.

I like to slowly take the van west for a few months each winter, and she likes to race the tour divide or something similar each summer. We do nearly everything together, so some time apart is looked at as an opportunity to feel what its like to miss one another and share our duties at Ron’s Bikes and Nutmeg Needleworks. Working out well so far, although she did miss watching the Rihana halftime show with me over FaceTime last night…

here are some photos of my slow drive west so far.

The mobile bike barn

First stop was somewhere in western PA on the way down to visit my olde friend Katie in West Virginia. A fortuitous stop off the highway to sleep for the night turned into a most excellent zone to explore by bike after my morning emails the next day. As you can see above, i have a new fast bike that i am slowly building out of the back of the van (more on that below).

Gonna be a lot of selfies!

Next its on to West Virginia where i meet up with Katie and her fam. We’ve been friends since college, such nice feelings.

Her 4 year old daughter took this photo. Not bad! You might remember Lucy from my original IG profile pic… she’s 16 now!

Then on to Kentucky. Never been to Kentucky. I finished building up that mystery bike from my off the highway camp spot, and took it out on some narrow ribbons of pavement

It was windy.
That’s the bike. Lowered the nose, and kicked back in the rails a little. 110 stem is too short. 21 lbs.

Ill be sure to dedicate a whole post to this bike, but there ya go for now. It’s fast. It’s 700×42. Its made by frank. Like I said more later.

Thats a lot of aluminum

This ride in Kentucky featured amazing roads and surfaces, but unfortunately every time i saw a dog, which was often, a dog would chase me. I lost count. Suffice to say i spent the ride mostly sprinting away from dogs and not taking photos.

So thats that for part 1. Have a good week!


4 responses to “Hitting the road west pt1”

  1. ericmarth Avatar

    Hey man, that tire shop shares some of your interests: Brakes & Pipes! Flats Fixed!

    Pretty insane old-work-van-dashboard vibe with all the trash. I find that sort of thing a little scary, tbh.


  2. joeltoadsage Avatar

    I am very upset you came to Kentucky and didn’t come to ride with me in Bowling Green. I know you’re familiar with the Glen Campbell tune (many others have sung it too). I am also very happy you got some riding in Kentucky.
    I feel you with the dogs. In my experience on one route in particular, after a while, you start to know where they are and be ready for them/get to know their patterns a bit. What really ended up working for me was to have a few croissants at the ready in my ever-reliable Fab’s chest to throw at them for distraction. Hot dogs or any other high-value treat would probably work.
    For some great, dog-free riding look to the Red Bird Mission near Hazard has endless forest gravel roads. Fairly well-maintained and has lots of challenging climbs. I think these guys might have a map.
    Mammoth Cave offers some brief but delightful gravel. Peabody WMA in Butler and Ohio counties have many miles of gravel (lots of litter too). I have heard Land Between the Lakes is amazing too. You’re likely long gone by now, but for the next time.
    These guys have compiled a pretty good collection of rides too.

    Best travels!


    1. coolultraromance1598 Avatar

      hello Joel! thanks for these great tips! ive heard a lot about bowling green — will have to take a look on the way back through if time allows. also did get a few miles in around the mammoth caves. what a cool zone! love the quiet narrow roads — will be sure to bring a few dog treats and a bigger bag next time!


  3. Jaybird Avatar

    Very good. Like you I also had to grapple with the travelers bum life and settling down once I had a kid. For me it was a kid and for you it’s a business.
    If I was asked 10 years ago what I’d be doing and where I would be living, my present reality wouldn’t have been an option at all but it turns out it’s rad.
    We drifters have a certain ethos and when that is challenged within ourselves for comforts over image we then have to think outside ourselves and appreciate the difference.
    Or something like that.
    Have fun and bring some heat back east.
    Still winter at my house.


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